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Goodbye 2015!

- Wits University

If you are in Cape Town on New Year’s Eve, don’t miss Wits physicists’ high performance laser shows at the V&A Waterfront.

International Year of Light

A Wits teams, led by Professor Andrew Forbes, will present high performance laser shows on New Year’s Eve at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

These scintillating light shows will bring to an end a series of events held globally and South Africa to commemorate the 2015 International Year of Light (IYL), a UNESCO event to celebrate light and light-based technologies.

There will be two major laser projections on landmark sites at the V&A Waterfront from 21:00 until midnight. The projections will “tell a story” about the impact of light in South Africa. 

“The public will see the spectacular display and will be encouraged to ‘follow the light’ to the source. At the source they will find the story of the IYL and the impact of light-based technologies,” says Forbes, Distinguished Professor in the Wits School of Physics.

The Wits team will be on site from 20:00 to engage with the public and explain the relevance of the IYL and the meaning of the projections. The IYL 2015 programmes promoted improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world.

The programmes also celebrated noteworthy anniversaries in 2015 such as the first studies of optics 1 000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.

South Africa has hosted events around the country over the past 12 months, from Mamelodi to Hogsback, in most of the provinces.

As part of the awareness campaign, community members in Mamelodi were asked to build solar cookers and demonstrate their application by cooking a meal with them. This was organised by the Mamelodi Environmental Science Centre, where Forbes gave a public lecture and then acted as the judge for the cooking competition: “It was remarkable to see mothers and pensioners take up the challenge of doing something to celebrate the IYL in a practical fashion. But in the end I made a very poor judge as all the ladies seemed like winners to me.”